Estimating the Value of Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley, and Jose Iglesias

The Bryce Harper v. Manny Machado drama has a cast a shadow over several other free agents: Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley, and Jose Iglesias. In this investigation, we will attempt to approximate the value of these overlooked free agents through applying age decline and the average cost / 1 WAR to their 2019 Steamer projections.

In Neil Weinberg’s Beginner’s Guide To Aging Curves, he explains that…

“a basic rule of thumb is that once a player gets to 30, you sort of expect them to lose about 0.5 WAR per year of value due to aging. Some players will age better or worse, but that’s an average estimate”.

Another one of his articles talked about the price teams pay per 1 WAR on the FA market. Neil Weinberg asserts that…

$/WAR is basically a measurement of how much teams are paying for players on the free agent market according to how many wins they will add over replacement level players. Right now, we think teams are paying about $8 million per every WAR they add to their roster. For example, a 2 WAR player signed for three years would theoretically provide his team with 6 WAR, so a team might want to pay him anything up to $48 million. If the team pays less than $8 million for each expected WAR, we call this a “good deal” and if they pay more, we say they “overpaid.”

Gio Gonzalez

Photo: MLB.com

Gonzalez WAR projections by year (accounting for annual loss of 0.5 WAR off of 2019 Steamer projection) and the corresponding monetary cost ( __ WAR * $8 million / 1 WAR)

2019 (age 33 season): 0.8; $6.4 million

2020: 0.3; $2.4 million

2021 (age 35 season): -0.2; $-2.4 million

Gonzalez contract possibilities:

  • 1 yr, $6.4 million
  • 2 yr, $8.8 million

Prediction: 1 yr, $6.4 million with Mets

Wade Miley

Photo: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Miley WAR projections by year (accounting for annual loss of 0.5 WAR off of 2019 Steamer projection) and the corresponding monetary cost ( __ WAR * $8 million / 1 WAR)

2019 (age 32 season): 1.0; $8 million

2020: 0.5; $4 million

2021 (age 32 season): 0.0; $0 million

Miley contract possibilities:

  • 1 yr, $8 million
  • 2 yr, $12 million

Prediction: 2 yr, $12 million with Brewers

Jose Iglesias

Photo: Mike Mulholland | MLive

Iglesias WAR projections by year (accounting for annual loss of 0.5 WAR off of 2019 Steamer projection) and the corresponding monetary cost ( __ WAR * $8 million / 1 WAR)

2019 (age 29 season): 1.3; $10.4 million

2020: 0.8; $6.4 million

2021 (age 31 season): 0.3; $2.4 million

2022: -0.2; $-2.4 million

Iglesias contract possibilities:

  • 1 yr, $10.4 million
  • 2 yr, $16.8 million
  • 3 yr, $19.2 million

Prediction: 2 yr, $16.8 million with Marlins

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